15 января 2015 23:31

Shymbulak should revise its pricing policy: foreign experts


Shymbulak mountain skiing resort. Photo courtesy of shymbulakhotel.com. Shymbulak mountain skiing resort. Photo courtesy of shymbulakhotel.com.

Foreign experts believe Kazakhstan’s Shymbulak mountain skiing resort located in Almaty oblast should revise its pricing policy, Tengrinews reports.

Foreign experts believe Kazakhstan’s Shymbulak mountain skiing resort located in Almaty oblast should revise its pricing policy, Tengrinews reports.

The resort management signed an agreement on exchange of experience with a well-known Grandvalira Ski Resort in Andorra, the largest ski resort in the Pyrenees and one of the largest in Europe.

Andorra has a huge experience in developing the ski sport and tourism. Over the last 50 years, a country with a population of 70,000 people managed to bing its skiing industry to the world-class level. The resort has become a favorite place for ski lovers all around the world. There are two large domains of Grandvalira and Vallnord and 300 km of slopes are between them that are adapted for all preferences and ages.

Every year around 8 million tourists visit Andorra. Its developed skiing sector is certainly one of the main attractions for the visitors. Moreover, the skiing sector significantly contributed to the development of Andorra's economy: currently, the skiing sector accounts for 80 percent of the country's GDP.

Now the representatives of Andorran resort will serve as advisers and observers to help Shymbulak improve the quality of services.

"Their task will be to understand where the Shymbulak is now and tell us where we should direct our development to avoid repeating the mistakes of foreign resorts and become unique," the representative of Shymbulak Saya Okas said.

For example, one of the areas of the experts' work will include the development of the Shymbulak ski school. A manager for the development of mountain tourism in Grandvalira ski resort Javier Salines offered to organize group sessions, VIP-classes for special clients, as well as a mountain school where children can stay all day.

“If we copy foreign resorts, you will lose the value and uniqueness of Shymbulak for foreign guests. You need to develop new services with national specifics. After all, those who want to come to you will not spend all the time on the slopes. You need to provide them with a full range of services, so that they will get as much as possible from Almaty and learn about Kazakhstan, " Salines said.

When speaking about the pricing policy of Shymbulak, he said that the resort should have reasonable prices for local people to afford them. “Shymbulak’s management should explore the opportunities of price-level targeting for ski passes (tickets that allow entering the territory of the ski resort and usually includes the right to unlimited free use of lifts and the ski-bus), and also change it depending on the season, visitors’ influx and so on. They can also create a variety of discount programs for the local population and separately for foreigners. Because flexible prices are also important to attract foreign guests. However, of course, it is a complex issue, since investments into this business are very large. But we need to find a balance, " Salines said.

Meanwhile, the representative of Shymbulak Saya Okas noted that given the current situation the launch of such programs seems to be problematic. “We are not at that level yet to be able to offer different prices for our citizens and for foreigners. 90 percent of our visitors are local people. If we offer discounts to all of them, then it will turn into an unprofitable business. But Andorra’s 90 percent are foreigners. Therefore, of course, they offer discounts to the locals,” she said.

According to her, the pricing policy of Shymbulak also depends on the fact that currently Shymbulak is the only Kazakh partner of the Austrian company that produces equipment for the skiing infrastructure. “We are the only buyers they have here and so they sell it us at very high prices. It is not feasible for them to supply the equipment here in small amounts. When there are several buyers in Kazakhstan, for example, Kok-Zhailau, then the price of equipment will become lower and we will be able to lower the ski-passes’ prices,” Saya Okas added.

Indeed, the experts believe that Shymbulak has an excellent opportunity to become a ski resort that will be visited by ski lovers from all around the world, because it has natural conditions for that. Located in a picturesque clove of Ile Alatau mountains near Almaty, the largest city of Kazakhstan, it is now popular among local people and citizens of the neighboring countries for its mild climate, large number of sunny days, large amount of snow during winter (from November till May) and magnificent surrounding views.  


Photos courtesy of almaty-kazakhstan.net.

By Assel Satubaldina

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